China still has many traditional street markets, which are, literally, where people with things to sell put up tables along the sides of the streets and lay out their wares for sale. But I have noticed that there are also many of these transitional markets, where merchants have an indoor location to set up their tables. I am sure that the merchants pay some type of rent for this location, and in turn they get a place to sell everyday out of the rain and other possible weather. But there is no heat or AC or other amenities except electric power and a roof and cement floor, so these are not like stores in a mall. However, they are good places to buy many traditional cooking supplies that are not carried by the big, modern stores. On Thursday before I left Shenzhen to fly to Taiwan, I went with my friends Michelle, Ceecee, and Kelly to one of these markets in Shenzhen.
Meilin Market is located inside of a giant, two story cement warehouse building. It reminded me of a parking garage without the cars. There were many, many vendors, selling all sorts of dried food items.
There were more than 100 vendors on the bottom floor of this building. I was wondering how they all stayed in business, since many of them were selling the exact same things. Kelly explained that this was where most of the local restaurants and street food vendors come to buy their supplies.
Not everything for sale was edible.
There were so many vendor stalls that looked very similar, so it was easy to get lost wandering up and down the market rows. Fortunately, Ceecee has been there many times, so she made sure that we did not get lost.
Ceecee and her family have a house in Houston, Texas, but they spend most of their time in Longhua. Her children go to the Foreign School (classes taught in English) in Shenzhen, and they only go home to the states in summer. She is a very good guide to places in Shenzhen because she spends most of her time there, unlike the rest of us who come and go.
Kelly and I did a lot of looking, but not buying, because we don’t cook in our dorm rooms.
These bags were piled up, waiting to be loaded into a truck with a restaurant’s truck.
This vendor was selling sodas and other drinks.
The tea vendor was one of my favorite stalls. She was selling tea, mostly wholesale, to tea stores in the greater Shenzhen area. My friends told me that her shop smelled very good!
At first, I wondered why there was this store selling aquariums and fish tank supplies in the Meilin Market. Then I remembered how many restaurants in China have aquariums as part of their decor.
The second floor of the cement market building was filled with vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables. I suspect that the fruit vendor who sells fruit from a cart in front of the dorm complex buys her fruit from a place like this one. The fruit and vegetables were all fresh and delicious looking, and very inexpensive, less than the vendor charges for her fruit.
If I had not been leaving Longhua in two days, I would have bought lots of fruit here. Instead, I just took lots of photos!